• Source: Kat Rowoldt/YouTube
  • Meet The New Kim Davis: Anti-Gay Texas Clerk Still Won't Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

    Molly Criner Compares Her Fight Against Same-Sex Marriage to Standing Up to Nazi Germany. 'I Just Have to Look at What God Said.'

    Back in July, Irion County, Texas Clerk Molly Criner publicly declared that her office wouldn't issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges

    In an interview with The Christian Reporter News, Criner compared her plight to clerks in Nazi Germany who were asked to collect information about Jews but refused to do so. 

    Citing her belief that children are better off with a mother and father, Criner said she prayed about the issue extensively, becoming physically ill and not sleeping for four days. She considered resigning, but after reading the majority and dissenting opinions in Obergefell, she concluded that the court had overstepped its bounds — even though she acknowledged she's not a constitutional scholar. 

    "One of the first things said was that I don’t have to do it, but my deputies can, and I can fulfill my Christian conscience that way, but for me that wasn’t an option when I prayed about it,” Criner said. “I would be delegating my authority — that’s just like me doing it.”

    On Wednesday, more than seven months later, at a Texas legislative hearing on the need to protect so-called "religious freedom," Criner told state senators that no same-sex couple has requested a marriage license in tiny Irion County, which has a population of just 1,500. According to census data from UCLA's Williams Institute, there were no same-sex couples living in Irion County in 2010. 

    Criner said two news reporters posed as a same-sex couple and requested a license in the wake of Obergefell, but she turned them away. She added that she's torn between state statutes and the Texas Constitution, which contain prohibitions on same-sex marriage, and the high court’s decision declaring those laws unconstitutional. 


    “Am I obligated by law to issue a marriage license? I am. But I’m also obligated by law to issue a marriage license only between a man and a woman," Criner said. "This is going to be something that violates my oath."

    Pressed by one senator about what she'll do if a same-sex couple requests a marriage license from her office, Criner said, “I’ll have to evaluate that the day it happens." 

    Republican Sen. Bob Estes responded by referencing the Constitution's supremacy clause, which establishes that federal law takes precedence over state law. 

    GOP Sen. Brian Birdwell pointed to a case in his district, where a same-sex couple sued Hood County after Clerk Katie Lang turned them away. A federal judge ordered Lang’s office to issue the license, and granted the couple a $44,000 settlement

    "Your testimony, Ms. Criner, is telling of the circumstances we face today," Birdwell said. "Is 'supreme' — in this case talking about the Supreme Court — is 'supreme' the adjective of court or is 'supreme' the noun? Is the Supreme Court the supreme branch of government and is it functioning within its role and its duties? I’m of the mind that it isn’t, because it’s legislating from the bench." 

    But Birdwell then concurred with Estes, saying the supremacy clause means it's up to federal officials "to check this the way we're desiring them to check it." 

    "I don’t have a solution directly to what we share as a concern, Madame Clerk," Birdwell told Criner. "I do know that right now, based upon your testimony and my experience in Hood County, that those that want a license to be married can obtain it, even if the elected officeholder doesn’t wish to sign it and validate it as a person, that the office can validate it." 

    In July, Criner said her deputy clerks don't want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples even if she delegates the authority to them. She added that because anyone "with 10 bucks and an Internet connection" can become a licensed minister and perform same-sex marriages, clerks are "the last gatekeeper." 

    Criner also made it clear that she's willing to be a martyr. She said she had considered the potential consequences of her decision, but ultimately they didn't matter.

    "I mean no disrespect to the same-sex couples who wish the benefits of marriage for their relations — no animosity toward them. I just have to look at what God said, and I have to look at the way our Constitution was based on what God said," Criner told The Christian Reporter News. “I hope everybody really likes me when it’s over, and I hope I still have a home, and I hope I'm not in jail, but I really can’t think about any of that. I just leave it in the hands of God." 

    Watch Criner's testimony during Wednesday's hearing by going here, then advancing to the 2:04:00 mark.  


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    • commented 2016-07-08 21:48:14 -0400
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    • commented 2016-02-24 15:11:42 -0500
      So tired of christofascists. So tired of the press legitimizing christofascism! Where are actual journalists?? Watching this country go backwards into more and more religious extremism, which is a mental illness folks…very discouraging.

    • commented 2016-02-21 12:19:10 -0500
      Your religious beliefs have nothing to do with the JOB you were “hired” to do. If you cannot perform the tasks that your job entails, then leave. Many people do not agree with the job they have to do but they/we are not paid for our beliefs/opinions. It’s a JOB.

    • commented 2016-02-21 08:04:33 -0500
      One more place to add to the list Not to visit. Christian bigotry & ignorance. Can’t we just put all religious, extremist idiots together & let the rest of the world evolve? They create the hate.

    • commented 2016-02-19 23:48:04 -0500
      People are going to continue to get married with or without her signature. She chose this job. She works for the state. The state has laws, and she has to follow them. If she doesn’t, she should either step down or be fired. She’s going to look really stupid ( she already does ) while people are still getting married and she’s sitting in jail.

    • commented 2016-02-19 18:04:29 -0500
      Look people, the woman is not stupid, she is conflicted.
      In my opinion, the ONLY answer is for Molly Criner to simply resign from the position citing her faith as the reason she must refuse to fulfill her sworn duties.
      Her oath of office is sworn to the people, not to her religion.
      She has no right to impose her faith on anyone else, yet that is exactly what she is doing.

    • commented 2016-02-19 16:23:23 -0500
      This woman is stupid as fuck. Christians are conceited to think they are the only religion to marry. Marriage has been around longer than that trash religion. What gives them the right to say who can or cannot marry.

    • commented 2016-02-19 14:11:38 -0500
      jesus christ. just send her to jail.

    • commented 2016-02-19 13:54:40 -0500
      If this lady is “doing what god said,” then is she refusing marriage licenses to people that have a divorce on record? How about people that don’t want any children – is she asking about that before granting a license? We already know the answer – this woman is just a bigot.

    • commented 2016-02-19 12:31:06 -0500
      Don’t be more than what you are. Just do your job and keep your religious superstitions to yourself when serving the public. The self-righteous should not hold any power of any kind in a free country. I just want to hang myself because I can’t stand this anymore.

    • commented 2016-02-18 23:17:42 -0500
      “I mean no disrespect to the same-sex couples who wish the benefits of marriage for their relations — no animosity toward them. I just have to look at what God said, and I have to look at the way our Constitution was based on what God said,” Criner told The Christian Reporter News.

      I would ask Ms Criner: (1) Where did God say anything about which legal documents county clerks should not sign. (2) What in the world makes you think that the Constitution is based in any way on “what God said”? (3) So you mean no disrespect, but you insist that it is OK that you continue to treat gay people unfairly?

    • commented 2016-02-18 21:46:26 -0500
      There is nothing in the constitution about relations of any kind between two animals aka Humans

    • commented 2016-02-18 20:42:38 -0500
      Since the US government is now dictating what marriages must be legal, it should be issuing the marriage licenses. There is nothing in the US Constitution that requires any marriage to be legal. And nothing in the Constitution that equates homosexuality with heterosexuality.

    • commented 2016-02-18 18:26:17 -0500
      The USA is not a theocracy, so any “gods” law is snuffed out completely by man"s law, the actual law of the land.

    • commented 2016-02-18 17:14:05 -0500
      Any other business would kindly show an employee the door if they refused to do their work. But because it’s a government office and she can cite her “religious freedom”, she can continue on with these asinine “protests” untouched—and likely still collect a check. Lady, I’m very sorry, I don’t know how to tell you this, but… you work for the state. Join a convent if you want to work for “God”.

      Furthermore, it takes some real shining ignorance to claim that the Founders modeled our Constitution off of the Christian religion or designed this nation with Christian supremacy in mind, especially since there is written evidence to the contrary.

      She’s also delusional in her idea that she’ll have public support after all is said and done. Sure, a small confederacy of staunchly backwards-facing bigots will likely always have her back, but the country by and large is steadily coming around to the crazy concept of equality and tolerance for ALL.

      She’ll be as much of a “martyr” in the history books as Kim Davis and the white bus driver who harassed Rosa Parks.

    • commented 2016-02-18 15:56:28 -0500
      Yet another FAILED CHRISTIAN.
      Romans 13:1-2
      Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    • commented 2016-02-18 15:41:28 -0500
      This delusional christian Texas bitch needs to obey the law and do her job. Her stupid personal convictions have nothing to do with Federal law. Obey the law and do the job you were voted into office to do., or resign.

    • commented 2016-02-18 14:58:20 -0500
      I hope someone punches her face in. F*ck you & your Christian Bullsh*t that you f*cks don’t follow yourselves. You quote the sh*t you want and Ignore anything you don’t like. Go home woman. You should be silent according to your own beliefs. You. Have no authority over any man as a woman of. Your faith. Your just another hypocrite. You don’t like gays that’s your real issue. I hope you get your face. Beat in.

    • commented 2016-02-18 14:33:33 -0500
      No one living today follows the book of Leviticus (and if you think you do, just read it before you open your mouth and put your foot in. Gay people are scorned for not living by bible verse in a book of the bible that no one else, including this lady are willing to live by. The good book (of do as I say, not as I do) was written by men – men who always seem to need your money.

      If god wanted us to have a rule book, wouldn’t it have been easy for him to just wave his hand and it would appear in all languages? He didn’t need a bunch of old men to write the bible from their dreams and visions – that is just bullshit. If he can create a planet with life on it, surely he could sit down and write a book. I’ve seen first hand where people claim god is talking to them, and today, they would be diagnosed as schizophrenic and/or hired for the Psychic Friends Network, but go back in time 2000 years ago and these crazies were called Saints.

    • commented 2016-02-18 14:22:01 -0500
      You know, the bible has a tiny verse, in one of its books, which says a man lying with a man is an abomination…doesn’t say what others should do about that…
      The bible has many verses in many books which say having premarital or extramarital sex warrants others to stone you to death… There are also many verses which say women should stay at home and be silent and should have no say in government or church policies or practices…maybe she should really do what God said…. She should go home and shut up.

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    • commented 2016-02-18 12:47:55 -0500
      This in my mind is no different from the county health inspector refusing to issue a health certificate to the local Red Lobster because they sell shrimp. It is after all in the same book in the bible but that would be absurd and no one would argue when the health inspector was fired.

    • commented 2016-02-18 12:27:26 -0500
      Ms. Criner, you seem to have forgotten that Jesus tells us to “love our neighbor as ourself”. Please stop cherry picking from the Bible and do your job. If you feel unable to perform your duties, you need to resign. Fortunately, we in America are much kinder. Had you actually refused to do your job in Nazi Germany, you would have joined your Jewish others and sisters in the death camps.

    • commented 2016-02-18 11:56:10 -0500
      It’s high time that this nonsense was brought to a SCREECHING HALT! You are a public servant. You are paid to provide services as dictated by LAW, not your book of fairy tales, about an old invisible man in the sky.

      I am a paramedic. I do not, NOR SHOULD I HAVE, the luxury of not treating someone just because I don’t like who they are or what their lifestyle is chosen to be.

      Ezekiel 16:49

      King James Bible
      Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.

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